Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but it can be especially hard on your children. Although you will be dealing with some confusing emotions and challenges, your kids are going to be hit just as hard by the abrupt changes in their life.
It will take effort from parents to make this transition as smooth as possible, but you must make it a priority to minimize the negative impact divorce will have on their daily routine.
This all begins with how you go about telling your kids about the divorce and will continue throughout the process.
You should start by telling your children about the divorce together, but only after you are sure it is happening. If you casually mention that you’re considering a divorce, it creates pointless stress that could have been avoided.
Additionally, you need to demonstrate a united front, which is why it is important to have both parents present for this conversation. You and your spouse may not be on the best of terms, but it is critical to set your differences aside during this conversation for the sake of the kids.
You also need to be honest during the discussion, but remember to keep things age-appropriate. Younger children will probably need a simplified explanation, whereas older children or teenagers will likely require more details about what to expect.
Finally, you need to reiterate that the divorce is not their fault and that both mom and dad still love them just as much as before. Kids have a tendency to blame themselves, so you must continually reassure them they are not at fault and that you still love them — particularly if you will eventually be the parent to move out.
Once the divorce is underway, your goal should be to reduce the effect it will have on your kid’s daily lives.
The biggest thing you can do to achieve that is to learn effective co-parenting. The sooner you and your spouse are able to put your differences aside for the sake of your kids, the better off they will be.
Strive to keep them away from conflict, which means do not fight in front of them and avoid any badmouthing when your children are present. Although it may seem difficult to keep things amicable once you get into the thick of things, litigation alternatives like mediation are a useful tool to reduce divorce hostility.
It also makes for a much more peaceful split when you have a say in the decisions, so be sure to select a divorce lawyer you trust with experience in negotiating settlements outside of the courtroom. Minimizing the bitterness and confrontational nature of divorce court will definitely make it easier for you and your spouse to focus on raising your children.
Additionally, when you agree to make your kids the priority early, it helps ease you into divorce negotiations since you are already focusing on what is in their best interests.
Divorce can be extremely challenging for children to understand, so you need to do everything you can to make it a smooth transition.
How this is accomplished will depend on the age of your children, but it is important that you dedicate time, effort and attention to reassuring your kids that they still have love and support from both parents.
It is you and your spouse’s responsibility to put the needs of your children before your own to help them cope with the difficulties they will face during and after your divorce.